Normal People is the story of two very damaged people who only feel whole when together but tragically keep finding ways to be apart.
The story takes place from January of 2011 until February of 2015. In 2011, Marianne Sheridan and Connell Waldron are in high school. Marianne lives in a mansion with her mother and brother and Connell’s mother, Lorraine, is their housekeeper. Marianne is awkward and bookish and has no friends. Connell is popular, athletic, good looking and well liked by the girls.
Connell and Marianne get to know each other as Connell picks up his mother from work. They develop an intimate relationship, which, although meaningful to both of them, they decide to keep a secret from their classmates. At the same time, they decide to go to Trinity College together, further strengthening their relationship. Then Connell invites someone else to the school dance and the thing falls apart.
They reconnect at Trinity and throughout the novel they are splitting up, engaging in new romances and then finding each other. Marianne grows into a beautiful woman and each of her relationships (other than Connell) involves physical abuse.